After last week’s slice of Moomin nostalgia, today’s pick from my childhood is Dick Bruna’s Miffy. In my nursery school picture circa 1980 I am wearing a particularly fetching jumper with Miffy on a see-saw. Now I am enjoying getting to know Miffy all over again with my own children through Miffy’s Garden. This was the first Miffy book to be issued for the iPad, closely followed by Miffy Goes Flying.
Miffy is helping her father in the garden today, learning all about growing carrots. As Miffy helps with the different tasks, you can copy her in your own garden, digging, raking, planting, watering and picking the carrots. Vegetable-wary toddlers beware – there is a good deal of carrot propaganda here. “Those carrots look wonderful… that will be delicious!” All the actions are very simple for little fingers to do, based on pressing and swiping. In no time your child will have a basket full of carrots with Miffy.
The story is available in Dutch and English. In some places the English translation does seem just a little clumsy to me, but the story is simple, cheery and very positive (no garden pests eating your carrots here!). The female narrator has a lovely reassuring voice and gives lots of gentle encouragement as you garden with Miffy. You can also record your own narration if you wish.
There are three simple games included: counting carrots for Miffy and her parents, matching fruit and vegetables with their shadows, and making your own garden scene. This is fun, but beware! It is all too easy to press the E-mail icon at the bottom of the scene, so do watch your child carefully to avoid emailing your boss a picture full of carrots and earthworms.
We have had this app for three months now and Little Miss Chatterbox (aged two) returns to it frequently, so I can definitely recommend it as a story app with staying power. Especially if you like carrots.
Miffy’s Garden, developed by Sanona Media/Mercis bv. Compatible with iPad. Available from http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/miffys-garden/id495662581?mt=8 priced at £2.99/$ 4.99 at time of writing.
Miffy’s Garden was written and illustrated by Dick Bruna, originally published 2004, available from Egmont Books (2005) ISBN-10 1405219025 / ISBN-13 978-1405219020